Mexico
EZLN

Zapatistas reorganize autonomous zone structure

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) indigenous rebel group in southern Mexico has announced the dissolution of its “autonomous municipalities” in the mountains and jungle of Chiapas state. A statement signed by Zapatista leader Subcomandante Mois√©s said the decision was taken “after a long and profound critical and self-critical analysis.” The Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Municipalities (MAREZ), overseen by rotating Good Government Juntas, have been maintained since the Zapatistas’ initial uprising in 1994. Mois√©s said that future communiques “will describe the reasons and the processes involved in taking this decision,” as well as “what the new structure of Zapatista autonomy will look like.” The communique did, however, mention a new pressure in the growing power of “disorganized crime cartels” in Chiapas, a reference to the narco-gangs seeking to control “the entire border strip with Guatemala.” (Wikimedia Commons¬†via¬†Mexico New Daily)

Mexico
Moisés Gandhi

Protest paramilitary attacks on Zapatistas

An international mobilization was held, with small protests¬†in cities across the world, in response to a call for support by the Zapatista rebel movement in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas. According to the statement,¬†the Zapatista base community of Mois√©s Gandhi is coming under renewed attack by the local paramilitary group ORCAO. In a May armed incursion at the community, a resident was struck by a bullet and gravely injured. Several families were displaced as ORCAO gunmen briefly occupied parts of the community. The statement charges: “Chiapas is on the verge of civil war, with paramilitaries and hired killers from various cartels fighting for the plaza [zone of territorial control]…with the active or passive complicity of the governments of [Chiapas governor] Rutilio Escand√≥n Cadenas and [Mexican president] Andr√©s Manuel L√≥pez Obrador.” (Photo: Chiapas Support Committee)

Mexico
maiz

Podcast: Mexico and the struggle for the genetic commons

In Episode 166 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg discusses how a little-noted US-Mexico dispute on trade and agricultural policy has serious implications for the survival of the human race. Washington is preparing to file a complaint under terms of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement over Mexico’s decree banning imports of GMO corn, slated to take effect in January 2024. Concerns about the (unproven) health effects of consuming GMO foods miss the real critique‚ÄĒwhich is ecological, social and political. GMO seeds are explicitly designed as part of an “input package” intended to get farmers hooked on pesticides and petrochemical fertilizers, and protect the “intellectual property” of private corporations. Agribusiness, which can afford the “input package,” comes to dominate the market. Eased by so-called “free trade” policies, agbiz forces the peasantry off the market and ultimately off the land‚ÄĒa process well advanced in Mexico since NAFTA took effect in 1994, and which is related to the explosion of the narco economy and mass migration. The pending decree holds the promise of regenerating sustainable agriculture based on native seed stock. It is also a critical test case, as countries such as Kenya have recently repealed similar policies in light of the global food crisis. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image: Sin Ma√≠z No Hay Pa√≠s)

Planet Watch
extinction rebellion

Podcast: anarchism and the climate crisis

With the inauspicious opening of the Glasgow climate conference, activists around the world are increasingly looking to local action as an alternative to the moribund United Nations process on addressing what has been called a “Code Red for humanity.” In Episode 95 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg explores the ideas of Social Ecology and radical municipalism, developed by the late Vermont anarchist thinker Murray Bookchin, and how they provide a theoretical framework for localities struggling to lead from below on the climate question. Examples discussed include the Zapatistas in Chiapas, the Rojava Kurds in Syria, and the community gardens and ongoing struggles for reclaimed urban space on New York‚Äôs Lower East Side. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.¬†(Photo: East River Park Action)

Mexico
machete

Paramilitary violence escalates in Chiapas

Tensions are fast mounting in Mexico’s conflicted southern state of Chiapas following a new outbreak of paramilitary violence. Protests have been held in the state capital Tuxtla Gutierrez over the past weeks to demand the return alive of 21 residents of the highland village of Pantelh√≥, who were abducted in July amid raids by a self-proclaimed “self-defense force” in which houses and vehicles were also set on fire. The state prosecutor who was assigned to investigate the case was himself gunned down on a street in the highland city of San Crist√≥bal de Las Casas. The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) issued a communiqu√© warning that Chiapas is at “the brink of civil war.” (Photo: Chiapas Paralelo)

Planet Watch
anarchy

Podcast: for pragmatic anarchism

In Episode 93 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg responds to the request from Patreon subscriber and legendary folksinger Dave Lippman to discuss the contemporary significance of anarchism. Weinberg cites recent examples of an “anarcho-pragmatism” that aspires to libertarian socialism but also works toward concrete victories in the here-and-now: the Zapatistas in Mexico, piqueteros in Argentina, the Rojava Kurds and other liberatory elements of the Syrian Revolution, and Occupy Wall Street in New York. Since last year’s Black Lives Matter uprising, anarchist ideas have started to enter mainstream discourse‚ÄĒsuch as calls for “decarceration” and to abolish the police. Weinberg also makes note of pointed criticisms of some contemporary anarchist thought from the Marxist-Humanists. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.¬†(Image:¬†Nicolas Raymond via Flickr)

Mexico
Squadron 421

Zapatistas launch symbolic ‘invasion’ of Spain

Seven indigenous Maya members of Mexico’s Zapatista movement set sail from Isla Mujeres, off the coast of the Yucat√°n Peninsula, on a trans-Atlantic voyage meant to symbolically reverse the Spanish¬†conquest of Mexico 500 years ago. Sailing in a wooden vessel they built themselves, christened La Monta√Īa, the delegation hopes to reach Madrid by Aug. 13, anniversary of the 1521 fall of Tenochtitl√°n, Mexico’s ancient capital, to the conquistador Hernan¬†Cort√©s. The delegation intends to land at Vigo, on Spain’s northern coast, and then continue to Madrid, beginning a tour of some 20 European countries. (Photo: Pie P√°gina)

Mexico
ocosingo

Mexico: Zapatista community attacked in Chiapas

A communal coffee warehouse in one of the rebel Zapatista base communities in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas was burned down in an attack by a rival campesino group that operates a paramilitary force in the area. The New Dawn of the Rainbow Commercial Center, maintained by small coffee cultivators loyal to the Zapatista rebel movement, was attacked by followers of the Regional Organization of Ocosingo Coffee Growers (ORCAO), according to a statement from the National Indigenous Congress. In response to the attack, a group of prominent Mexican cultural and intellectual figures, including popular singer Julieta Venegas, issued a¬†statement, protesting: “This new aggression is part of the intensification of the war of attrition in the state of Chiapas, characterized by an increase in violence by paramilitary groups and organized crime.” (Photo via EspoirChiapas)

New York City
Fifth Estate

Fifth Estate Live with Bill Weinberg

Portland-based musician and vlogger David Rovics interviews CounterVortex editor Bill Weinberg for Fifth Estate Live. The two discuss Weinberg’s upcoming story for the anarchist journal Fifth Estate on the “two faces of fascism” the US confronts at this moment‚ÄĒa Trumpian dictatorship or a post-pandemic “new normality” of complete surveillance and social control. But the moment is also pregnant with possibility, witnessing the mainstreaming of anarchist ideas such as abolishing the police. Initiatives such as cannabis legalization as a first step toward this aim are gaining ground nationally. Looking back, they draw lessons for the current revolutionary moment from the Tompkins Square Park uprising on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the 1980s, and the rebellion of the Zapatistas in Mexico in the 1990s‚ÄĒwho continue to hold liberated territory in the southern state of Chiapas even today. Watch the video archive on YouTube or listen to the audio version on SoundCloud.

Mexico
Yucuquimi

Troops occupy ‘autonomous’ pueblo in Oaxaca

Tired of what they call political paralysis and corruption in the local municipal seat of Tezoatl√°n de Segura y Luna, in Mexico’s Oaxaca state, the Mixtec indgenous community of Yucuquimi de Ocampo last month declared itself to be a “free municipality” under its own “autonomous” self-government. Since then, the state and central government have had the community floded with troops both from the army and newly created National Guard force. Residents have clashed with National Guard troops, and local followers of the Agrarian Indigenous Zapatista Movement (MAIZ) marched on the state capital to demand withdrawal of the troops from the community. The Zapatista rebels in neighboring Chiapas state have issued a statement in support of the “free municipality.”¬†(Photo:¬†Pagina3)

Mexico

Chiapas: Zapatistas expand autonomous territory

In a communiqu√© entitled “And We Break the Siege,” signed by Insurgent Subcomandander Mois√®s, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas ammounced an expansion of their zone of autonomous self-governing territory. The statement said the EZLN has created seven new “Caracoles” (regional self-governing bodies) and four new Zapatistas Rebel Autonomous Municipalities (MAREZ). These 11 new bodies add to the five Caracoles and 27 MAREZ already in existence, bringing to 43 the number of self-governing territories within the Zapatista autonomous zone. The new rebel entities are within the “official” municipalities of Ocosingo, San Crist√≥bal de las Casas, Chil√≥n. Tila, Amatenango del Valle, Motozintla and Chicomuselo. The Zapatistas have named their new campaign of expanding their territory in Chiapas “Samir Flores Soberanes,” after the indigenous leader who was assassinated in Morelos state this year. (Photo via Solidarity)

Mexico

Mexico rejects US drug war aid

Mexico’s new populist president,¬†Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador,¬†announced that he is dropping out of the regional US-led drug enforcement pact, and will be turning down the aid package offered through the program, known as the Merida Initiative. “We don’t want armed helicopters,” he said, addressing Washington.¬†Instead, he is proposing a dialogue with Washington on across-the-board drug decriminalization in both nations. Mexican lawmakers say they will pass a cannabis legalization bill by the end of the year.¬†(Photo: El Txoro)